Uttlesford-based newspaper charity has a digi dilemma

PUBLISHED: 09:45 16 October 2009 | UPDATED: 07:24 30 May 2010

A TALKING newspaper charity is struggling to meet the demands of it users because of the cost of moving to digital equipment. The Saffron Walden Talking Newspaper supplies about 70 visually impaired people across Uttlesford with weekly cassettes containin

A TALKING newspaper charity is struggling to meet the demands of it users because of the cost of moving to digital equipment.

The Saffron Walden Talking Newspaper supplies about 70 visually impaired people across Uttlesford with weekly cassettes containing material from local newspapers - including the Dunmow Broadcast.

Chairman of the Talking Newspaper, Liz Starling, said the service, which provides a wide range of news as well as details of upcoming events, was a "vital link for the unsighted with the wider community".

However, the charity needs to raise about £5000 to buy digital equipment to run alongside the charities ageing cassette system.

"We face two pressures," said Ms Starling. "First is the withdrawal from the retail market of cassette players which are becoming increasingly difficult for new customers to buy.

"They are no longer supplied by the RNIB. We have some access to second hand machines but cannot rely on this source always being available.

"At the same time there is also the growing pressure from listeners with internet access who would like to obtain our service on line."

So far the charity has raised about £3000, but more is still needed. Business and fundraisers are now being asked for help finding the extra cash.

"More volunteer readers and helpers are always required but we have other pressing needs," said Ms Starling.

"Our costs are generally low as our most valuable commodity is time which is given freely. But now we find we need more funds to modernise and improve the quality of our service."

For more information visit the charity's stand at the Celebrate Your Senses exhibition, organised by Support 4 Sight, due to be held in Saffron Walden Town Hall on Saturday October 24.

Alternatively people can attend their annual meeting in the Prospect Room at the Methodist Church in Castle Street, at 7.30pm on Monday October 26. Details from fundraiser Andrew Taylor on andrewmctaylor@hotmail.com.

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